Watermelon: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts & Risks
Watermelon is another member of the family of Cucurbitaceae packed with about 92% of water content. Unlike cucumber, it’s sweet but offers almost the same health benefits. Often referred to by its scientific name citrullus vulgaris, watermelon isn’t only a refreshing fruit to bite during summer, but it is also nutritious and good for the health.
This sweet, watery fruit is low in calories and contains essential nutrients, such as antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, among many others. It comes with five (5) popular types, namely the orange, mini, seeded, seedless, and yellow. By saying so, here are some valuable things you need to know about watermelons.
The citrullus vulgaris, or popularly known by many as watermelon, comes in a full package of nutritious elements that can aid in the regular functioning of the body and assist in managing health-related risks.
It contains a high amount of antioxidants, which include vitamin C, L-citrulline, phytosterols, L-arginine, folate, lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, vitamin A, and choline. Watermelons also contain fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
With all the above-mentioned nutrients, watermelons can highly help in keeping a healthy mind, body, and heart. All the nourishments promote prevention and good flow to the regular functions of the body’s cells, muscles, and organs. Hence, below is a list of the health benefits that all these supplements offer when you eat watermelon.
Supports proper hydration
One of the basic needs of a person to survive is water. In fact, almost 60% of the adult human body is water. Moreover, the blood that provides the body with nutrients and oxygen, and eliminates wastes and carbon dioxide, contains 90% of water.
An individual must have the required amount of water in the body for proper hydration, and watermelon does just that. Dehydration poses disorders to the skin, aside from other health risks.
Supports skin health
Proper hydration promotes healthy skin. Watermelon also contains vitamin C, which helps produce collagen in the body. Thus, supporting superb cell structure and exceptional functions of the immune system. Other than that, watermelon is rich in ascorbic nutrients that foster healing of wounds in the body. Furthermore, lowering any risks or chances of skin damage caused by age-related complications.
Supports healthy respiratory system
Free radicals greatly contribute to asthma, and antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid or Vitamin C, can block them. Thus, preventing respiratory diseases, including asthma. One cup of watermelon can provide 12.5-milligram of vitamin C. By saying so, watermelon supports a healthy respiratory system.
Supports neurological health
In a cup of watermelon, there’s 6.3-milligram of choline antioxidants that satisfactorily aid in neurological health. Choline enhances a person’s cognitive functions and early development of the brain, which includes outstanding memory and efficient learning processes. Therefore, lowering the risks of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Supports a healthy digestive system
Due to its high-water content and 0.6-milligram of fiber, watermelon helps in keeping your digestive system healthy. Water and fiber are a perfect combination in supporting a healthy digestive tract or also known as the gut.
These nutrients protect the digestive system by preventing occurrences of stomach upset, like diarrhea, indigestion, and constipation. Hence, it promotes regular bowel movement. Overall, supporting a healthy digestive system.
Supports effective metabolic system
The metabolic system in the human body plays a crucial role in the well-being of a person. These are the enzymes, organs, and hormones that are responsible for the majority of the body functions that are essential to one’s life.
When this system becomes defective, it can create a negative ripple effect that will affect the blood sugar, blood pressure, and cardiovascular system. In short, the metabolic system strictly defines a person’s wellness or illness.
However, consuming two cups of watermelon can support in the effective metabolic system’s regular functioning. Researchers have found out that the consumption of watermelon improves the metabolic syndrome condition in a person, which means lowering the chances of stroke, diabetes, and heart diseases, among many others.
Supports well-functioning renal system
Watermelon has diuretic properties due to its high-water content. These properties helped in eliminating excess salt and water in the body. This feature is essential for individuals who are suffering from high blood pressure and kidney problems, as well as other related conditions.
Supports cancer prevention
Increased release of free radicals in the body can cause cancer. When free radicals are free to roam around, your immune system is at risk. Oxidative stress may happen, which will lead to damaging the cells. The body needs to block the free radicals through antioxidant supplements to fight back or prevent the damage.
The antioxidants present in watermelon can help fight the stress, and thus, keeping your immune system in a healthy state and preventing cancers from developing.
Supports productive prostate function
Among the various powerful antioxidant properties in watermelon is the lycopene, which lowers the chances of any type of cancer, including prostate cancer for men. The sweet and refreshing watermelon supports a healthy prostate gland, preventing prostate cancer.
Supports normal blood pressure
Having normal blood pressure means a healthy heart, mind, and body. Two of the powerful antioxidant properties present in the watermelon are the L-arginine and the L-citrulline. These two can help in keeping the blood pressure normal, leading to arthritis prevention and good functioning arteries.
Aside from lycopene, watermelon is also rich in phytosterols that can help in managing the bad cholesterol or Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). Hence, preventing high blood pressure, which may lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Supports muscle recovery
Watermelon can help in muscle recovery, especially for athletes or sports-oriented individuals after a strenuous workout.
Risk and side effects
The moderate consumption of watermelon is okay. It is ideal to receive its full health benefits, and so, there are no risks or side effects involved. Nonetheless, overconsumption of watermelon and other people who have medical problems may need to think twice first before eating or consuming watermelon.
People with diabetes
Watermelon is naturally sweet. Hence, diabetic people should be extra mindful and careful when consuming watermelon. It is advisable to eat watermelon as a whole instead of its juice. Extracting the juice takes the fiber away, and so, it would be easier for the sugar to get through the body.
When that happens, there might be an increase in the blood sugar level, which is not good for people with diabetes. Your doctor can provide the correct amount or portion of watermelon that you can consume.
Some people might be allergic to watermelon, and so, allergic reactions may occur after consuming one. A few of the common symptoms that they might experience include difficulty in breathing, hives, and swelling. When it happens, you should seek immediate medical attention because it might result in a serious condition called anaphylaxis. It is the fatal allergic reaction anyone can have.
Listed below are the nutritional facts of consuming watermelon. You will see the equivalent amount of every nutrient you can get in a cup of serving for a 154-g watermelon ball. The list is for the daily nutrient intake requirements for adults. The requirements depend on the adult’s age and gender.
One cup of watermelon contains 46.2 calories of energy, and the daily energy intake requirement is from or between 1,800 to 3,000 calories.
There’s 10.8-milligram of calcium in a cup of watermelon, and the required daily calcium intake for adults is from or between 1,000 to 1, 200 milligrams.
In one cup of watermelon, there is a total of 11.6 grams of carbohydrate plus 9.6 grams of sugars, and the daily carbohydrate requirement for the adults is 130 grams.
A cup of this sweet, watery fruit is 6.3 milligrams, and the required daily intake of choline in the body should be from or between 425 to 550 milligrams.
Every cup of citrullus vulgaris or watermelon holds 467-microgram of beta-carotene. Adults required intake of beta-carotene per day is from or between six (6) to fifteen (15) milligrams.
The dietary folate (DFE) of one cup of watermelon is 4.6 micrograms, while the required amount for adults every day is 400 micrograms.
One cup of watermelon has 0.6-gram of fiber content, and the daily required fiber intake for an adult is between 22.4 to 33.6 grams.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin (mcg)
Each cup of watermelon has 12.3 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin. No recommended amount of lutein and zeaxanthin’s daily intake. Nevertheless, a study showed the health advantages of taking ten (10) milligrams of lutein and two (2) milligrams of zeaxanthin every day.
In a cup of the sweet and refreshing watermelon fruit, there’s a total of 6,980 micrograms of lycopene present. Like the lutein and zeaxanthin, there’s no recommended amount of lycopene that an adult should get daily. However, recent studies revealed the health benefits of taking 8 to 21 milligrams or 8,000 to 21,000 micrograms of lycopene every day.
Each cup of citrullus vulgaris contains 15.4 milligrams of magnesium, and the required amount for adults to take every day is from 320 to 420 milligrams of magnesium.
Required daily intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 milligrams, and one cup of watermelon produces 172 milligrams of potassium.
Adults need 700-milligram of phosphorus intake in a day. Consuming a cup of watermelon gives you 16.9-milligram of phosphorus.
The highly recommended amount of phytosterols intake per day is from or between 200 to 400 milligrams, and one cup of watermelon can provide you 3.8 milligrams of phytosterols.
Vitamin A (mcg)
Daily vitamin A, retinol activity equivalent intake requirement for adults is from or between 700-900 micrograms, RAE. One cup of watermelon produces 43.1-microgram, RAE.
Vitamin C (mg)
The required amount of vitamin C that an adult should take per day is from or between 75 to 90 micrograms, and in one cup of watermelon, you can get 12.5 micrograms of vitamin C or ascorbic acid.
Other nutrients that watermelon contains are:
- Vitamin B (riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin)
- Essential minerals (selenium, zinc, fluoride, manganese, and others)
- Other antioxidants (lysine, tryptophan, arginine, leucine, and others)
Is it OK to eat watermelon every day?
Eating watermelon every day is okay. With all the nutritional benefits that watermelon offers, it is even ideal to consume a slice or a cup of this sweet, watery, and refreshing fruit. Nevertheless, experts highly advised for moderate consumption. People with diabetes may follow the doctor’s recommended intake.
Is watermelon a Superfood?
Watermelon is a superfood as it’s not only sweet and mouthwatering, but it offers multi-nutriments that are highly beneficial to a person’s well-being and health. Watermelon contains powerful antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, among many other else.
Can diabetics eat watermelon?
Diabetic people can eat watermelon, but according to the recommended amount provided by the doctor. Watermelon is a sweet fruit, and so, it is advisable how much a person with diabetes can eat or take.
However, experts suggested to eat watermelon as a fruit and not in juice because extracting watermelon juice can take away the fiber needed to manage the blood sugar level. When fiber is not present, the sugar may get easily absorbed, resulting in a spike of the blood sugar.
When should you not eat watermelon?
Experts highly recommend not to eat watermelon in the evening, especially before you go to sleep or after 7 p.m. because it’s a bit acidic. That said, it may cause a bit of a problem with your digestion process when you eat it at night time because your body is inactive then.
Is watermelon full of sugar?
Watermelon has fructose, a fruit sugar, which doesn’t really cause a high spike on the blood sugar level, as long as eaten in moderation. However, excessive or overeating of watermelon may possibly cause an increase in glucose. Hence, it is highly advisable to consume watermelon adequately. Diabetic individuals should need to consult the doctor to verify the right amount of watermelon they can consume.
As a whole, watermelon offers a variety of nutrients or health benefits for the body’s regular functioning. It is rich in different powerful antioxidants that are extremely helpful in supporting a healthy heart, metabolism, blood sugar, blood pressure, urinary, neurological, and immune system, among many other benefits.
Nonetheless, always follow the recommended dietary intake, especially for people who have diabetes. For other people, you can eat more but in moderation.